Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has refuted claims of privatization of the Indian Railways. In a tweet, the Minister said, all the current services of the Indian Railways will continue to remain operational and the Railways is not being privatized in any way. Mr. Goyal informed that 151 additional modern trains will be operational on 109 routes with private participation. He asserted, these additional services will not affect the functioning of other trains but will only create more avenues of employment in the country.
The Ministry of Railways has said that 151 trains proposed to be run by Private operators once the selection process is over, would be in addition to the existing trains. The Ministry in a statement said that these proposed trains will run on the routes where the demand for trains is already higher than the existing capacity. The Ministry has invited Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for private participation for operation of passenger train services over 109 Origin Destination (OD) pairs of routes.
The project would entail private sector investment of about 30 thousand crore rupees. This is the first initiative of private investment for running Passenger Trains over Indian Railways network.
The objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance and transit time as well as to boost job creation, provide enhanced safety and world class travel experience to passengers. The Ministry said, the driver and guard of the trains will be Railway officials and the safety clearance of trains will be done by Railways only.
The 109 Origin Destination(OD) Pairs have been formed into 12 Clusters across the Indian Railway network and each train will have a minimum of 16 coaches. The Ministry said, majority of trains will be manufactured in the country under Make in India and the private entity will be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains. It said, these trains will be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour.
The Private Entity will pay to Indian Railways fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption and a share in Gross Revenue determined through a transparent bidding process.